Skip to main content

Writing Process: Sprints & Breaks. Get that MS into shape!

Dear Alison,

I made a mistake.

I didn't realize I was supposed to post Monday, May 30th. I deleted that lovely blog schedule you made us--that blog schedule that listed upcoming posting dates? I thought this morning I was being conscientious when I emailed you a request for a new copy. Turns out I was just being late.

But fear not, I have delivered.

Bob Marley makes me happy, especially this time of year when the sun shines down on us and we can jump into lakes without turning into icicles. I love swimming. I love biking. I love hiking in the woods. I love being outside, but I also love reading and writing. So, to fit everything in (as best as I can) I wake up early to read. I stay up late to write. I weasel time in during the park days and field days and carnival days and tie dye days. And you and I have taken up sprinting.

Oh my dear readers, fear not. We are not tugging on our sneakers. We are not breaking a sweat and burning our fair skin in the blazing sun. (Although, after some forty-five minute sessions, I have needed to cool off with a tall glass of icy cold water and a piece of chocolate.) No, our sessions work out our manuscripts. A few times a week (including weekends), we've managed to squeeze in several forty-five minute writing sprints.

Our sprint conversations look like this:


A few quick texts, and forty-five minutes turns into a writing frenzy. Similar to this...


Our writing sprints follow advice I adopted following Susan Campbell Bartoletti's keynote at the SCBWI EPA's 2014 Pocono Retreat. 

Susan writes for forty-five minutes without interruption. She ignores the phone. She ignores the email. She just writes. After forty-five minutes, her timer goes off and she stops typing--even if it's mid sentence. She steps away from the computer and takes a fifteen minute break to recharge her brain. She'll walk the dog, run a load of laundry, grab a snack. She doesn't look at email, answer the phone, or tweet. She's still thinking about her manuscript during that break, and when her fifteen minute break is up, she returns to her work with renewed vigor. 


Writing sprints work. 1,000s of words of content prove it.

 This time of year is especially busy for me. My mind wanders a lot because of my other demands. Our sprint sessions allow me to focus, and I love it. 

So, while I wrote Starr Lost in a month back in February. Starr Gone is taking a bit longer--but with our writing sprints it's in much better shape than it would be without them.

Sharing the writing love one letter at a time,
Kim 



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Adult Scavenger Hunt: Team Green's Lynn Stevens, Author of Full Count

Dear Alison and friends,It's that time of year again...Time for the New Adult Scavenger Hunt!!!!! 

Welcome to the New Adult Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was inspired as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! 
**KIM BONUS: I included my own RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY at the bottom. Don't forget to enter to win some free books!! 
At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team!But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 96 hours!
Go to theNew Adult Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the Green Team–but there is also a Blue Team for a ch…

FIRST SNOW by Bomi Park: Classroom Activity and Review

Dear Kim,


Let it snow!
Let it snow!
Let it snow!

We had fun with Bomi Park's gorgeous FIRST SNOW last week. We used the book as a mentor text to explore personal narratives and poetry.  We also explored watercolor resist techniques. (We also made a mess-- which is kind of my modus operandi during writing workshop. Sorry, Kelley!)

I used the sentence starter from the jacket copy:
Look up. One flake falls, then another. And just like that—it's __ __ __ __ __ __ __ .

The kids worked cooperatively at their table groups to discuss what word might fill in the blank. I love hearing them chat. 
"Well it is a snowflake because 'one flake'." 
Followed by: "No. It has seven letters, snowflake has nine." 
And: "It is an action. A-- what's that called-- a verb because it is something falling." 
Eventually we filled in the blank by using spelling clues to check our thinking, which might not sound like a whole lot of fun, but spelling is awesome and totall…

Book Review: PAX by Sara Pennypacker

Dear Kim,

I am happy to hear that you are feeling better (Baby too.) You and I find common ground in our young adult, even adult, book recommendations. I typically leave Donna to send us recommendations about terrific Middle Grade novels. But, boy oh boy, do I have one for you today.

I need to keep up with the best in Middle Grade fiction in order to engage my small literature group of amazing readers that I meet with at our local elementary school. This school year we've already read Kathy Erskine's Mockingbird and R.J. Palacio's Wonder. Currently we are enjoying Kwame Alexander's The Crossover. When we finish Alexander's novel-in-verse, our next pick is PAX.


Oh, PAX.
I could write a love song about this book.
Hey, that's not a bad idea. The kids might enjoy writing a song about the love between Peter and Pax.




Peter and Pax were best friends. Peter, age twelve, needed a friend like Pax to rise from the lose of his mother. And Pax, well Pax needed Peter too. Pet…